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InstructureCon 2015 Public Postmortem

tl;dr: This is an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2015! Please post before reading the comments from others. Then feel free to reply to others!

So InstructureCon 2015 came, took our breath away (thanks Olivia), and now it's over. Fortunately the great sessions, ideas, and connections we made, can live on within our Canvas Community and the InstructureCon 2015 community space!

Please be sure to take that survey that our marketing team sends out, so we can make instcon even better next year. That quantitative feedback is invaluable.

In addition we wanted to have an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2015!

Here's some things you might want to talk about: the sessions, the keynotes, the general sessions, the activities, the online schedule, the printed schedule, opportunities to connect, ideas for the community team to improve community interaction and engagement.

Thanks for your help Canvas Community...  We ❤️ you!

Onward and upward!

Please @mention other community friends or use the "Share" tool to encourage others to offer their feedback as well!

talk about a #ff FYI:

 @scottdennis ​,  @Renee_Carney ​,  @biray ​,  @shauna_vorkink ​,  @kona ​,  @clong ​, awilliams​,  @mjennings ​,  @travis_thurston ​,  @ewander ​,  @seanmichaelmorr ​,  @jared ​,  @scottdennis ​,  @G_Petruzella ​, Deactivated user​,  @canvas_admin ​,  @mfgu ​,  @tdelillo ​,  @hvaughn ​,  @ted_coopman ​, 229780​,  @sbastian ​,  @kschneider25 ​,  @jmunoz1 ​,  @anthonem ​, st2840​,  @rseilham ​, Deactivated user​,  @jward ​,  @dlyons ​, Deactivated user​, Deactivated user​, JGarton​, 504417​,  @bacherts ​,  @SethBattis ​,  @mlattke ​, Deactivated user​, erinhallmark​,  @sabsmith ​,  @adam_b_nemeroff ​

126 Replies

Hi Kona,

Shoot! Somehow I completely missed hearing anything about the unconference, it sounded awesome. Guess it was a combination of teaching my summer class and crashing my bike. Jordan was right, I need to pay more attention in the community space.


 @ted_coopman , it's a shame you didn't know about the uncon​. sadpanda

Hopefully it will happen again next year and with a bit more fanfare! Smiley Happy

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @mjennings ​, I think you are spot on with having game night on Tuesday! Great idea!

Community Contributor

When I heard about uncon, I had already signed up for precons.  I will plan differently next year.  Or, maybe the uncon can be before the precons?

Community Champion

I loved Instructurecon 2015.  It was a great conference.  My comments are to improve the conference and not negatively critical.

  • The network was terrible
  • The location is beautiful, but I think holding the conference lacking in my in one or two buildings would be beneficial. Much time was lost in traveling.
    • The shuttles did help
  • Each breakout session should have tables for attendees.
  • 2 sessions were overflowing and I missed one of those because there simply was no room foe me.
  • i would like PowerPoints and other files available on the date of presentation, preferably prior to the presentation
  • Very picky here... Most of the food was lacking in my opinion.

Except for the networking issues this conference was the best I have attended in years.  Keynotes, sessions, entertainment, and energy were great.  I learned enough at my sessions to fill my year with projects to improve my institution's use of Canvas. I am very glad I attended.

Community Member

This was my first year at Instructurecon. I have to say, having been at around 50 education conference in the last ten years, I’ve never felt more welcome and taken care of at another event. Top among all of my Pros is the Instructure staff. They were plentiful, helpful, and fun loving. They set the tone in both the entertainment as well as the conference session. Kudos to the company for its awesome culture and ensuring that it translates to the event.

Other notes:

  • The venue: beautiful, big, and the forum was a great location to network and party. The session rooms were well equipped (though far too small as other have noted) and the tents were comfortable (except for the chairs)
  • Keynotes: All three speakers were fun and inspiring. Mimi and Derek set excellent examples of engaging a big audience. Josh was entertaining and enthusiastic, but I wish he’d have connected the empathy theme with something related to the conference (eg “Empathy lets educators put themselves in a student’s shoes and Instucture in educator’s shoes”)
  • Minimum number of vendor sessions. Yeah for more opportunities for peers to lead sessions!
  • Branding and theme might seem like a superficial part of the event, but I thought it was fun and set a great tone.
  • Session themes: tracks, or at least icons, in the program would have been great to identify k-12 sessions, coder-friendly sessions, and sessions for those new to Canvas or advanced Canvas users.
  • Session timing: 30 minutes simply isn’t enough. 45 minute sessions with 15 minutes in between would have been much better to allow for Q&A as well as travel time between venues.
  • Pre-conference workshops: breakfast and lunch for attendees of pre-conference workshops would have been a welcome addition. There was only one restaurant open for breakfast and they seemed to be taking advantage of that with exceptionally high prices for low quality food.

All in all, it was an excellent week and I’m excited to attend again!

I made it to one of the unconference sessions--but only by the skin of my teeth!  I saw one tweet about it, asked three helpdesk people where it was, and nobody had any idea taht it was even going on.  I know an unconference is supposed to be loose and informal, but this was a little too loose!  The session I attended was very helpful, and I certainly would have attended more had I known it was scheduled.  Next time--let us in on the secret!

New Member

This was my third instcon and I must admit I walked away this year feeling a little, blah.


  • Venue - I normally really love the Canyons Resort. The outdoor space is fantastic and the staff are always so pleasant. However, this year the air conditioner was broken and it took 3 phone calls to get it fixed. Plus, we never received bedding for a pull out couch my colleague slept on. Not a deal breaker, but we will stay in a different hotel next year.
  • Sundial tent - The outdoor space is one of my favorite things. I understand it snowed last year, but I found myself missing most of the sessions held in the tent.
  • uncon - No clue what this was or is. Once I read all the comments I feel like it would have benefited me greatly. How do we get on the "list" to know about this in the future.
  • game night - I didn't get a chance to participate in any games since I was flying out so early but love the idea.
  • Entertainment - It was okay. 
  • swag - Liked the shirt. The rest was okay. I will probably use mine to give away to faculty during the academic year because they are the true rock stars and deserve all the goodies. Some people seemed to be special or have the inside track to get more stuff, guess I am not one of them.  I don't drink so it would have been nice to exchange drink punches for swag.
  • Speaker gift - Great! I am going to use it like crazy, if I don't lose it first Smiley Happy
  • The People - I saved the best for last because by far the best part of the conference are the people, both attendees and Instructure employees. I can't count the meaningful/interesting/fun/educational conversations I had with all types of people. From the golf cart drivers (who are awesome), to conference attendees, conference presenters, CSM's, the product development team, the (amazing) Community Team, everyone is always so friendly and willing to talk and share.--totally copying  @kona ​ on this one. Could not have said it better.


  • Conference Program - Black background? Next time, please give out white pens or something if you are going to have a black background. Looks super cool but not effective.
  • Very similar sessions at the exact same time-5 sessions on rubrics, badges, and 1:1. None of them taught me anything I didn't already know from the Canvas guides.
  • Yellow text on white background for the official PowerPoint slides. Even when the screen was huge, it was almost impossible to read what the yellow text said.--Ditto
  • Rooms not big enough--people were leaving before one session ended to get a spot in the next session. Drinks got spilled, people stepped on, etc.all in the name of a seat. Rooms need to accommodate more people and provide more time between sessions.

Now to the blah. I love a good conference. It doesn't have to be a musical or over-the-top. I don't need former celebrities or flashing lights to make me happy, but what I do require is to learn something new. And this year, I didn't. The first year I went, I learned so much and was so excited and for the last two years, it just seems to be on repeat. The conference is geared towards newbies and coders. I don't want to be the Debbie downer of the group so I will leave my criticism for the evaluation but I just wish I had learned something, anything that I could have taken back to my school and implemented in the Fall. Honestly, not sure if I will spend the money to go back next year.

New Member


One thing that I forgot to mention earlier is that I would wish that the conference had been a more "green." Last year they gave everyone water bottles (I brought it and used it again but kicked my self for forgetting my travel coffee mug) and lots of water fill-up stations. The sheer volume of plastic disposable water bottles was alarming. This also goes for the disposable plates and flatware - that is an epic amount of trash. While it certainly takes a lot of water to wash dishes that is not a particular problem there (as opposed to CA and our drought). I would guess this is a direct cost and convenience issue, but the larger costs and the externalities should be factored in. I would pay more for a greener event - and I say that having paid my own freight these last two years.


Community Champion

Hello Kona,

Like many other mentioned, I missed the unconference as well. Thank you for providing the link! I plan to dig around.